New York May Soon Catch Up in Providing Paid Family Leave
NEW YORK - A bill to allow New York workers up to 12 weeks of paid family leave is gaining support in Albany.
This week, Netflix announced it will give its employees unlimited time off for the first year after a child is born or adopted. It's a growing trend in major corporations.
A New York bill that also would allow paid leave to care for an aging parent or sick family member stalled in the state Senate this year, but Jared Make, senior staff attorney at A Better Balance, said the future prospects are looking good.
"We're ready to hit the ground running once the new session kicks off," he said, "and I think all of the national attention and momentum for paid family leave is certainly helpful for getting something done here in New York as well."
The United States is one of the few countries in the world that doesn't have at least national paid maternity leave. Paid family leave has been a law in California for a decade, and in New Jersey since 2009.
Many people live in New Jersey but work in New York. Make said they often are shocked when they learn they aren't covered in a family-leave situation.
"Because we're telling an expecting parent who thought that they were going to have a paycheck and a program while they were out that, in fact, they don't have paid family leave because they work in New York," he said.
Under the New York bill, employees would pay less than $1 a week to fund the program.
Some business groups say paid family leave would hurt small business, but Eric Williams, campaign director for the New York Paid Family Leave Insurance Campaign, said the experience in California proves that isn't true.
"We're talking about almost 90 percent of businesses in California saying it's had a positive or neutral effect on their profitability, on their productivity and morale," he said.
The New York bill would build on the state's temporary disability program and phase family leave in over four years, paying two-thirds of a person's average weekly income up to a cap of half the state's average weekly pay.
More information is online at abetterbalance.org.